Thursday, June 4, 2009

Earlier, while perusing the normal sites on the interwebs, I came across an article about the television theme song on Variety. It should be no secret that I love my fair share of TV themes. If you were to scroll through my iPod once you get past the viking death metal and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from the Mannequin you would find over eight hours of boob tube tunes. This may be a bit of an unhealthy obsession, but I love to listen to them. Pulling up to a stoplight with my windows down rocking out to Alan Thicke crooning "show me that smile again," next to some guy blaring Lil' Wayne is awesome. Especially when their song ends and they hear what it coming from my car. I have no shame in listening to themes in the car. There was one road trip in particular where the whole way to Oklahoma City all we listened to were my precious short tunes.

It is no secret that the TV theme song has taken a back burner over the last few years. Gone are the days of the minute, or longer, opening credit sequences with iconic themes to get stuck in your head. The thought is to stop wasting the time with the credits and give more show to the viewer. I am all for this, but at the same time it is sad to see the theme song get shoved to the side. If you went to pretty much any bar/restaurant/mall/coffee shop and sang, "making your way in the world today takes everything you've got" most everyone within earshot would know exactly what you were singing, or whistle the tune from The Andy Griffith Show. These songs do not just start our favorite shows, but become a part of us. If you went into that same place and let out a pitch perfect cry in the tone of the ten second Heroes opening it would be highly unlikely anyone would no what the hell you were doing.

The does not make or break the show, but if there is a catchy tune I firmly believe the show will stick with you much longer. Each show that shortens there trademark opening to ten, or fewer, seconds takes away one of the best things about watching TV, in my opinion. They aren't all winners, but I still loved them - except for one. For some reason I was always weirded out by the start of Perry Mason. It might be the very dramatic tones or Raymond Burr, but I would change the channel with a quickness. I could sit and watch horror movies nonstop but the opening to Perry Mason was my one weakness.

There are still a few shows who still do a great theme song. Most of the good ones are on cable, HBO and Showtime seem to respect the art of TV themes, but network TV has its fair share. The Barenaked Ladies recorded an awesome song for The Big Bang Theory. While I have never been one of their fans, I find myself singing this all the time. "Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state..."

One of my favorite premium cable themes was taken away and I still cannot condone this action by the fine people on Weeds. "Little Boxes" was a perfect fit for the suburbs where all looks exactly the same, just like the fictional town of Agrestic in which Nancy began her pot dealing career. Through out the second and third seasons different musical artists did cover versions of the song and it was grand. When the Botwin's left Agrestic so did the theme. I know the theme didn't make sense anymore, but I also know I'm not the only one who misses hearing about those "little boxes made of ticky-tacky." I guess I'll always have my MP3 version to keep me company.


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